What to Tell Yourself When Your Teens Aren’t Filling Your Bucket

Daughter #1:  I had a good dream last night.
Dad: Oh? What about?
D1: I dreamt I got a puppy. A German Shepherd puppy. And I named it Timbit.
Dad: Ah. That sounds like a nice dream.
D1: And then Mom made me give it away.

I get blamed for everything.

Rewind to the start of last week. Driving the girls to school, Daughter #2 was in the back seat trying to put her contacts in while the car was in motion. She hardly wears them, so, naturally, this should be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

D2: Ugh!  Dang it! Dropped it again!


D2: There! It’s in.
Me: Yeah! Great job!
D2: Aargh! It fell out!  Mom! You jinxed it!

See what I mean? You, too? Welcome to the years of It’s All Your Fault. For over a decade we have been managing their world, perhaps micro-managing it. Food magically appears before them. Clothing materializes in their dresser drawers and closets. They are transported via golden chariot (OK, that may be a stretch) to destinations that offer them instruction, fun, friends, and family. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s rewarding because we love these sweet creatures so much.

And then, seemingly overnight, they move into the driver’s seat (literally) and we are relegated to the back seat. We’re now a backseat driver.

How do you like the view?

Their clothes are wrinkled and a bit smelly because, while they did do their laundry, they didn’t dry it long enough and left it in the basket unfolded for days.

So, I tell myself: Not my problem. Not my fault. Let them learn.

They decide to make banana bread – for the 100th time – and you see them dumping all of the ingredients into the bowl at once, with whole bananas still green on the ends.

Not my problem. Not my fault. Let them learn.

They make plans with a classmate who lives 30 minutes away, and they need a ride. Now.

Not my problem. Not my fault. Let them learn.

I know, I know. Their brains are still developing. They’re working on life skills like patience, planning ahead, tolerating frustration, and perhaps the hardest one – being accountable for their own decisions and actions.

But here’s the thing: When my daughters miss the mark, they know it.  They don’t need me to point it out to them.

Not my problem. Not my fault. Let them learn. Bite your tongue.

So, I’ve learned to be on the lookout for those priceless micro-moments when I get a knowing glance, a quick hug, or one of their smiles. And the next time I’m blamed for something that didn’t go right in their universe, I take a deep breath and say a quick silent prayer for patience. During these teenage years, now is not the time for that oh-so-satisfying parental retort because

“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”  Proverbs 17:9.

Not my problem. Not my fault. Let them learn. Bite your tongue. This, too, will pass.

Share a laugh: What did your teen blame you for recently?